funerals

Food culture is very rich in Iran. In fact so rich that even in funerals it has a very special and important place for people.

At funerals, the guests are often served sweets or halva which is a mix of flour, oil or butter, sugra, saffron and rose water. Each city has its own version though.

Carrot halva is a special treat from Tabriz. Dates are also part of the treat at funerals. If you're tasteful and more respectful towards your guest, you take out the core of the dates and put a quarter of a walnut and lay them all neatly on a tray and dust them with shredded coconut.

A whole tray is often served to the guests. Those who have lots and lots of guests rent buses for the guests to transfer them from the cemetery to the mosque. In the mosque they hire someone to sing sad songs and Quran verses or say good things about the dead. People come and go and cry in each other’s arms and eat sweets and drink tea. Then everybody or sometimes just the selected guests are invited to dinner in the home of the deceased, their children's or in a restaurant.

They often serve traditional Persian food with salad and drinks. They believe the food that is distributed among people will bring more peace and prayers to the dead. They repeat the same story on the 3rd, 7th, the 40th and the one year anniversary of the dead person. Depending on your beliefs and wealth the parties and foods vary from small to big. The type of food depends on the choice of the family but lentil rice and kebab rice. The important thing is no matter what, rice is always part of the deal.

When my grandmother passed away I was not in Iran. I went there after the 40th day of her passing. To pay my tribute to her I cooked pots of food and trays of Halvas and invited just the sons, my uncles, and their children and fed them all. The majority of the food was packed and taken to be given to the poor and homeless.

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